At least four people died and 37 were injured by a series of explosions in a shopping mall in the central Chinese city of Luzhou, China's official press said Friday.

The explosions, believed to have been caused by a gas leak in a restaurant, occurred around 10:40 a.m. in the Moer mall, located in the Jiangyang district of Luzhou.

The gas seems to have filtered up through the first and second floors, which caused several explosions and rapidly spreading fires.

The blasts caused the ceiling and walls of the second floor to collapse, according to the official news agency Xinhua, which added that they were so powerful that the windows of adjacent buildings where shattered and a nearby bus went out of control and crashed into three taxis parked nearby.

Meanwhile, a union office near the shopping mall went up in flames.

Firefighters put out the fires, though traffic remains blocked in the surrounding area and rescue work continues. EFE